By Kristen Harris
Taylor Swift’s social media rose from the dead with a weird GIF of a snakes tail. A few days later, she was back online full-time with her new album announcement and a single to drop. The lyric video for “Look What You Made Me Do” became YouTube’s top trending video in under an hour.
Taylor’s initial disappearance set off every music conspiracy theorist on the internet. The most popular theory, which was covered by BuzzFeed, claimed that, due to certain words found in the coding of Taylor Swift’s official website, the new album would be a space-themed project called Eclipse that she would drop during the actual solar eclipse.
I had a different theory, however. When other fans were cracking codes in the website’s HTML and analyzing what dress Taylor wore to the VMAs two years ago, I took a look back at what she’d been doing on social media for three years since 1989.
It was hard to miss the (continued) drama between Taylor and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West dredged up my his song “Famous” last year. Even Taylor’s ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris got in on it. Then there was Katy Perry (again). Then there was Hiddleswift. There was even that weird story a few months ago about her being carried out of her apartment in a giant box.
Through all of this, however, Taylor said next to nothing.
Aside from the infamous “I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative” Instagram post, Taylor has never addressed her “drama” on social media. However, as soon as the snake video emerged in full, I knew that something was up.
I couldn’t help but think that Taylor was taking the “snake emoji” label that Kim Kardashian had stuck on her last year and totally reclaiming it. It would be like “Blank Space” all over again. No one could tear Taylor down because she’d beat them to the punchline.As it turns out, I was completely right.
Taylor new album, aptly named “Reputation”, drops Nov 10. The album artwork features dark colors and snake imagery. Her new single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” debuted on August 25th at 12:01 AM.
The new song makes direct references to the aforementioned “dramatic narratives” that Taylor was involved in. It reclaims her position of power over her own life and promises to share her side of the story.
In the chorus, Taylor sings, “I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time.” This is such a great line because that’s exactly what she did. Kim Kardashian used the drama to boost her reality TV ratings. Katy Perry used a diss track to promote her new album Witness.
Taylor easily could’ve fought back for a couple thousand retweets, but she didn’t. She waited.
In a GQ cover story from two years ago, the interviewer mentioned that another star had described Taylor Swift as “calculating.” She wasn’t a fan of a label, but now, I think that it was correct.
In the same interview, Taylor described the way she wrote “Blank Space” to satirize the image of her that the media often portrayed.
“A nuanced sense of humor does not translate on a general scale,” she said, “and I knew that going in. I knew some people would hear ‘Blank Space’ and say, See, we were right about her. And at that point, I just figure if you don’t get the joke, you don’t deserve to get the joke.”
It’s my theory that Taylor is doing the exact same thing with Reputation. “Look What You Made Me Do” is so over-the-top with its fantastical, medieval battle imagery that you can’t take it at face value. The song is more of a tongue-in-cheek reminder that Taylor Swift is unsinkable than it is a call-to-arms against everyone who’s ever hurt her.
To top it all off, she’s about to make so much money off of the people who tried to “end” her.
Think about it. How many times has Taylor Swift been shot down, only to dust herself off and get back up again?
It is a bit sad, though, that she had to reach the point where she could no longer “Shake It Off.”
Maybe it’s been three years since 1989 because she could only pretend that the hate didn’t hurt for so long.
I think Reputation will force us all to take a long, hard look at how we view ourselves and other people, and, more importantly, how that influences the way we treat t